Real Talk

Do you have a Peer Assistance and Leadership (PAL) program at your school? We're blessed with these specially-trained teens from FHS and they truly make a difference in the lives of our school family. Every year I get to watch as their relationships with our little friends unfold and bloom 
right before my eyes

Here's a first-grade boy's priceless poetic tribute to his PAL: 

I have a pal, her name is Kristin
and when she talks I like to listen.

This year, however, was different because I wasn't around as much this spring and I had to miss their last day on our campus. Instead of just disappearing from their lives and letting them disappear from mine, 
I decided to send them this real talk thank-you note.

Dear 2013 PALs:

You are all very special to me and to our school family. Thank you for your service on our campus this year. You have positively impacted the growth and development of some children whose lives are often times chaotic and grim. You have shown them that there are, indeed, caring and trustworthy people in this world. You have given them compassion, friendship and hope, all beautiful and long-lasting virtues.

I want to share with you why I am unable to come and say goodbye to you in person. As you may recall, I was hit head-on by a drunk driver in January. The physical injuries kept me out of school more days than I've ever been absent, but God has restored a good bit of my phsyical strength. My stamina will undoubtedly return one day soon.

The issue now is the trauma which has momentarily trumped me. This month has found me fearful, mistrusting, and out of sorts; it truly is a "me" that I don't recognize. Now a wounded healer myself, I took a medical leave for the remainder of the year so that I could receive more counseling to process through that life-changing, violent crash.

Thank you for the flowers and your warm wishes, thoughts and prayers through this difficult time. I want you to know that there is strength in weakness, and, if you ever find yourself in my shoes, I want you to ask for help and let people who care about you be there for you, like you and Mrs. Victorick have been there for me.

I have known many of you since the first grade, (Jordan, I think you were 4 when we first met you on the soccer field!) and I am as proud of you as I am of my own son, Jacob. Your class is very gifted and I know you'll do amazing things to change the world. You have to BE the difference! Wherever you go, go with ALL of your heart and remember to always, always let your values light your path. I love you.

With gratitude and blessings,

Mrs. Gruener


  1. I hope your healing continues. Your honesty and bravery is something I am sure that they truly admire about you.

    1. Thank you, Sylvia, for stopping by and for your encouraging words. To be honest, it doesn't feel real brave right now, but I really thought it was an important message for them to feel.

  2. You are a lady with a giant heart. I hope it heals quickly and well.

    1. And you are a day maker, Rhythm. Thank you BOTH for your warm well wishes!

  3. What a beautiful post. I was also hit by a drunk driver. Time and God's amazing love and power will heal you. You will be even stronger than before. I will continue to pray for you sweet friend.

    1. I had no idea, Tamara; it means so much to me that you told me that and that you're sharing God's amazing love ....


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